Skip to main content

A mother in pain is Mother India in pain: story of a senior citizen amidst Freedom@75

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava* 

Mother India celebrates 75 years of independence of which Anuradha Bal has witnessed 73 years. While witnessing the building of the nation, Anuradha also built her life from childhood in West Bengal to over half the century in the sleepy town of Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.
She spent all her life as a teacher at the Khalsa Higher Secondary School in Dayalband and taking care of her four daughters (even after their marriage). With meagre salary of hers and that of her husband, like many parents they faced hardships together to give the children the best education and the values possible.
Looking back in retrospection, Anuradha implicitly built an alternate career of a mini-builder. On August 14 she visited the four houses that she resided in Bilaspur in the last 55 years, one where she was brought after marriage and the other three that she built with strategic savings and profits from building and selling properties. This strategy brought a dignified living for all.
After retirement and finishing her responsibilities as wife and mother, when it is the time to live peacefully and reflect upon the life lived, Anuradha is in distress by things that should not have occurred. Despite her financial security, good health and social life, she is stressed to live in her own house by none other than her own child.
This narration tells the helplessness of a mother-teacher, now a senior citizen, to battle out her right to live with dignity. What is inspiring is her motivation and dedication to fight for her right to live with dignity.
In a country that is really working hard on the problems of patriarchy, what do you do when a woman is unsupportive of another woman, that too mother-daughter. When a mother (parent) works hard to raise her children, how does it feel when later her child/ren start misusing the biological rights? When a teacher teaches her students to be a good human being, how does it feel when a student starts applying (misusing) the education, the position and the power acquired on the very teacher?
To add to it, how does it feel when the system from the top to bottom undermines the right of the senior citizen and puts her into the long bureaucratic procedures? Anuradha is still lucky to be educated and strong woman to fight it out for her right, wondering how the uneducated-weak women are distressed.
And we are embarrassingly talking about New India, Azadi, 5 Trillion, Vishwaguru, etc. etc. when over 4.70 crore cases are pending in various courts in the country to resolve only the internal matters, of which most of them the poor-vulnerable-senior citizen-women, victimized by the sheer systematic processes of bureaucracy.
This narration of Anuradha tells the state of a lot of mothers in the country, who work selflessly for their child/ren but unfortunately many suffer towards the end of their lives. As India houses among the highest number of distressed/abandoned mothers/women in the world after they are widowed or cheated by their spouse and/or child/ren.
Most of the women before they are robbed of their belongings and dignity have usually lived dignified life and wishing wellbeing of their spouse/siblings. This narration is also a learning for the would-be mothers on the dos and donts. Like Anuradha regrets the most about having four daughters in the urge/pressure to have a son. This narration is also to put some questions to self and the society.
In today’s time of urbanization, the social character of the neighborhoods is alienated making the lives of senior citizens and women are extremely challenging. Often the society gives the onus to the children to take care of the parents at the old age, rightfully so, but ‘where they should be taken care’ remains a difficult puzzle.
It is often challenging for children to take care of the parents physically if they migrate to other cities for livelihood and their family. Then, moving the parents to the new place is also challenging, as they feel uprooted from their base (physical-social life). Under such circumstances, the least the children can ensure is a safe and peaceful life at a place where the parents prefer to live.
To add to it, the least the system can do is to attend to the needs of the senior citizens with more empathy and urgency. Then there are also instances (like in Bilaspur) where old-age homes are in poor conditions and new old-age homes are not inhabited/preferred where many like Anuradha do not wish to move, especially when they feel financially, emotionally and physically well.
Anuradha built her house with her hard-earned savings, and if she wishes to live there peacefully until the end of her life, it must be respected and ensured by the child/ren and the system. Instead, she is pushed to live in stress by a child further augmented by poor support from the system.
She fought a legal battle for six years to claim her right to live with dignity in her own house and got the judgement in her favour. It has been nearly seven months since then that the system is yet to implement the judgement that Anuradha prayed and got in her favour. As we see in the televisions and films, Anuradha too has moved from office to office to just request the system to respect the order. But alas!
Like every/any citizen, Anuradha is entitled to her fundamental Right to Live with dignity to be ensured by the system especially after she fought the battle for it and won it. The Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the life and personal liberty to all persons. It guarantees the right of persons to life with human dignity. Therein are included, all the aspects of life which go to make a person's life meaningful, complete and worth living.
Anuradha lives in Nagdaoney Colony at Vyapar Vihar. All that she is seeking support from her children and the system is support her in living with peace and dignity in her house that she built brick by brick. She needs support of the city that she devoted her life by raising wonderful citizens through her teachings and obeying the system that runs the law and order of the city.
She is probably a teacher to thousands of students in Bilaspur (and outside) who are now good citizens and doing well. Through this narration, it is a shout from her to all the Bilaspurians, and especially to her friends, seniors, juniors, from the Khalsa Higher Secondary School; to people of the Tehsil Office, where her husband worked his entire life; and to her past and present neighbours; to support her in requesting the system to just provide her the right to live in her house with dignity by just doing an ordinary thing, follow the law of the land.
A common societal question-cum-suggestion is, ‘Why don’t you take your mother and take care of her?’ Yes, I can definitely do that, and I must do that, I admit. Well, it is often tagged as a family matter.
However, a simple question still remains to ask to the society and the system. If someone wishes to live in her own house with her belongings and peace and is seeking support in that, first, can the society and the system respect and support in her right to do so? There is a social-administrative matter entangled with her personal-family matter.
Despite the efforts, since it feels helpless in the bureaucratic processes, this is also a shout from me to all the Bilaspurians and to my friends from the Burgess Higher Secondary School where I did my schooling that please request the system to do an ordinary thing: follow the law of the land.
In a country that cannot ensure reducing the pain of the mother by just simply following the law, there is a long way to reducing the pain of Mother India, importantly the pain of the those who have already served the family and the society all her life, a mother-a senior citizen.
---
*Entrepreneur, researcher, educator, speaker, mentor; see more on her here: www.mansee.in

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i